We called ’em “Boards” and they were one of Mike Gittleson’s evil creations. The first iteration was literally a 2′ x 4′, about four feet long and pushing them on astroturf was decidedly awful. Later, when we got field turf in the fieldhouse, the boards got an upgrade with the “skis” you see above — they didn’t make them any easier. We used to push these boards up and down the field 2 minutes on/1 minute off for about 45 minutes or so (although that was usually only about half the workout.) A few times, we pushed them outside on the grass. It was one hell of a conditioning workout.
If you’re going to be an athlete, you better be prepared to run. Shown here is George Hackenschmidt training in Chicago to face Frank Gotch for the second time. (Taken in 1911) Hack is flanked by his training partners Dr. Benjamin Roller, Gus “Americus” Schoenlein, and Jacob Koch, the former World Champion from Germany — and they all appear to be in fine fettle.
Oldtime football players used to push wooden sleds to build leg strength and stamina. This was good for conditioning although not so much for football technique — either way, it’s a great workout. This picture shows the Harvard football team training circa 1910. Sleds like these are actually still made for training purposes although if you don’t have one, you can always push a car for a similar effect.
How do you train when you want to be in the meanest and toughest possible shape? The answer is “Like a wrestler” which is exactly what boxing champ Jim Jeffries used to do in his training camps. There’s nothing better for buiding strength of mind AND strength of body. Jeffries’ wrestling coach? None other than Farmer Burns.
Any University of Michigan football player from the last fifteen years will break down and cry at the sight of this picture. Needless to say, physical conditioning is a big part of the game of football and one of the ‘top secret’ conditioning tools that we used to use can be seen here. Think of it as a portable, one-man version of the traditional wooden sled.